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Merica was the first dormitory building constructed on campus. It is named for Charles Merica, UW president from 1908-12. Merica, a sociologist, was an ambitious builder. Among other structures, he proposed a museum building as well as a university hospital. Funding for both was rejected by the legislature.
According to Wilson Clough, author of a UW history written in the 1960s, Merica left “in disappointment and bitterness,” burning his papers and resigning without providing much notice.
Next to Merica Hall to the northwest was once a small pond, known as “peanut pond” to generations of UW students. The site of the annual “tug-of-war” between in the incoming freshmen and the sophomores, the pond was drained in the 1950s, probably due to the mosquito problems in was said to foster.